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Schaeffler and VDL Groep Collaborate to Create Autonomous Shuttles

In a groundbreaking collaboration, Schaeffler and VDL Groep are poised to usher in a new era of autonomous public transportation by developing and manufacturing a cutting-edge generation of self-driving shuttles. This innovative project aims to revolutionize the way we commute and promises to be a game-changer in the realm of autonomous mobility. The first glimpse of this transformative technology is set to dazzle audiences at the IAA Mobility show in Munich, Germany, taking place from September 5th to 10th.

The driving force behind these autonomous shuttles is none other than Mobileye, a leading provider of cutting-edge autonomous driving systems. Their technology will be the cornerstone upon which these futuristic shuttles will operate, promising a safer, more efficient, and convenient mode of public transportation.

Negotiations are already underway with various public transportation authorities to kickstart pilot testing, setting the stage for a future where these autonomous shuttles may become a commonplace sight on our streets. According to the current project roadmap, we can anticipate street testing of these autonomous shuttles to commence in 2025. Germany, known for its forward-thinking approach to autonomous vehicles, is set to become the first country to embrace these groundbreaking shuttles, having approved SAE Level 4 autonomy for use on public roads.

The collaborative effort between Schaeffler and VDL Groep is geared towards fast-tracking the development of shuttle vehicles that can be produced on a commercial scale. VDL Groep brings to the table its wealth of expertise in both bus and car manufacturing, while Schaeffler has crafted a rolling chassis equipped with a fully electric powertrain, steer-by-wire system, and a modular battery layout, setting new standards for the industry.

Mobileye’s Drive platform serves as the technological backbone of these autonomous shuttles. This platform leverages purpose-built EyeQ processors, sensor systems, lidar, radar, and mapping systems to ensure safe and reliable autonomous operations. It’s a fusion of cutting-edge hardware and advanced software, making the dream of self-driving shuttles a tangible reality.

Schaeffler and VDL Groep have a clear vision: to construct these self-driving shuttles for public transportation operators, who will integrate them seamlessly into an ecosystem designed to redefine urban mobility. Negotiations are ongoing with various operators to initiate pilot projects that will not only validate the concept but also establish an open and scalable ecosystem with accessible interfaces.

Looking ahead, the ambitious group is setting its sights on an impressive production target. By 2030, they aim to manufacture thousands of these autonomous shuttles each year. The production hub for this transformative endeavor will be VDL’s Mobility Innovation Centre, situated in Born, the Netherlands. This move underscores the commitment of both companies to not only conceptualize but also to execute and deliver this innovative transportation solution to the masses.

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